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The Illusion of Safety/Safety of Illusion: Trigger Warnings (Essay Sample)


Write a formal analytical essay in approx. 4 pages (double-spaced with a work cited page) with an introduction, argumentative and debatable thesis statement, body paragraphs that support the thesis, and a conclusion. You will be graded on the strength of your ideas, how well you support those ideas with analysis of textual evidence, and the quality of your writing. You will be expected to quote from the text using MLA format, but you do not need to consult or quote secondary sources for this assignment.


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The Illusion of Safety/Safety of Illusion: Trigger Warnings
Each person has some dark past that often surfaces when the person is exposed to environment or situation that reminds them what happens in the past. It is common for a person that was bitten by a dog to fear walking past dogs or someone that has suffered some emotional abuse to fear situations that are likely to trigger those feelings. It is also possible for people that have lived in violent relationships to fear watching violent television shows because such shows trigger undesired past experiences. It is for this reason that the Telecommunications Act 1994 introduced ratings with trigger warnings in TV programs. Gay defines trigger warnings as embedded warning messages in media indicating that the program content may harm or trigger psychological harm (5). Even though trigger warnings have been around for a while, Roxane Gay’s essay “The Illusion of Safety/The Safety of Illusion” refutes the efficiency of trigger warnings. After readings Gay’s essay, I do not think that the writer has a sound argument to oppose the necessity of trigger warnings.
Gay has structured the essay in short paragraphs, some of them are one sentence long. The sentences are short and truncated to create a feeling of haste and tension in the reader. The shortened sentence elicits an emotional response from the reader of the text. The sentence “when a man enters my office, I am alone, and he closes the door behind” (Gay 2) creates a sense of tension in the mind of the reader. Even though Gay does not tell the audience of the text what she feels, the reader is left contemplating how a victim of trauma could feel when she is locked in a room with a man.
Gay uses short and truncated sentences that make brief claims. There is sufficient space after each claim to allow the reader to ponder over what the author has said before going through the writer’s explanation. The large space and long pause after making the claim allows the reader to contemplate and consider what the author has said and probably make an informed decision. Gay wants to create an impact with her words, but she can only do this after winning the attention of the audience. Another sentence like “… when a man comes up behind me unexpectedly” (Gay 2) also shows how the author wants to create tension and tell his audience that trigger warnings cannot save her from herself. They only help her feel a sense of security in illusions. This is different with what she will feel when the incident happens in her real life.
The style of the essay is also in first person point of view. The advantage of this style is that the narrator wins the emotions and feelings of the audience, making it nearly impossible for one to oppose what the narrator is saying. Gay emphasizes her statements when she uses “I…” and “when I…” to show the audience that

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